Friends at a Distance

Rosa Martinez

Friendship.  Photo: Juan Suarz
Friendship. Photo: Juan Suarz

HAVANA TIMES — Until recently I didn’t write anything for Havana Times for three months – far too long, I would say. Many reasons kept me away from the page. The main ones are my old computer, which breaks down more and more often, my two girls, who seem to cause greater problems as they grow up, and, to be completely honest, a lack of motivation to tell my stories.

Today, I am making an extra effort and putting aside the problems that common Cubans face day in and day out. I try to forget my PC is slower than ever or that it shuts down when I am most inspired. I even forget about my two girls, Tania and Gisell, to convey my belated but sincere condolences to one of my colleagues in Havana Times, someone with whom I have had next to no contact, but whom I admire because of the passion of her pieces and the elegance of her writing.

Though we are very different people (as all people are), we share a number of passions – so much so that, on occasion, I feel closer to her than she probably imagines.

The first thing we have in common is a friend, a skinny gal that is one of a kind, someone anyone would want to have as a friend, even through a cold Internet connection, to be able to cry or laugh with her, as I have done so many times.

Like me, my friend in Havana Times enjoys telling each and every one of her stories (she even has a book published). The two of us begun writing for the page using a pseudonym, out of fear we would lose our jobs and cause our closest relatives harm.

She is braver than I am and now publishes her true identity. I am not so brave and continue to hide behind a flower’s name.

Our greatest passion in life are our children. Her child has often been misunderstood and mine have met with many frustrations. The two of us have suffered the consequences of an educational system that is in decline and has seen its worst years in the past decade.

We love nature – she prefers animals and I plants. We are loyal to our home and family, and defend these fiercely. You can clearly perceive this in her writings, and I believe in mine also.

Regrettably, the two of us carry the pain over the loss of a loved one, en emptiness that will never leave us, because the space left by her mother and my grandmother cannot be filled.

I hope it is not too late to convey my most sincere condolences to Veronica.